British Woman Living In The US Shares American Foods That Are Banned In The UK — 'They're Poisoning This Country'

She loves living in the US, but there's one thing she thinks the UK, and most of the rest of the world, does better: food safety.

banned food ingredients in UK vs USA tomeng, alenkadr, Billion Photos, CrackerClips Stock, mezuna, SamuilLevich / Canva

Who exactly said it is the subject of debate, but some great wit once said that Americans and the British are "one people separated by a common language."

As much as we have in common, there are of course myriad ways in which the US and UK are distinct from each other — and one of them might surprise you.

A British woman now living in Ohio recently shared a list of American foods banned in the UK.

"Oh so that's why the food is so bad there!" I hear you saying. Which, first of all, rude, and second of all, as someone's who's lived there, that slander is unearned. Or, at least it is nowadays (though I do wish they had better pizza).


But the UK's notorious reputation for having bad food is not why these American treats are banned — it's because the United Kingdom, along with most European countries, has deemed them toxic. 

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Millie Hart is a wife and mom who hails from the town of Walsall near the city of Birmingham. A while back she fell in love with a man named Mark online, and soon the two were marrying, and Millie, along with her son, was moving to the US state of Ohio.

On her TikTok channel @milliehart01, she shares her observations about how life in the US differs from life in England. And while she loves her new life in the States and says she wouldn't ever want to move back, there are some distinctions between the two that she finds hard to take — namely, the long list of American foods banned in the UK.

Hart highlighted common American foods and drinks that taste completely different overseas because certain ingredients are banned.

For instance, if you're a Mountain Dew drinker? Well, get ready to be disappointed if you ever move to Blighty. American and British expats will notice that their respective Mountain Dews taste very different from each other, in part because one of the key ingredients in the drink, brominated vegetable oil, is banned in the UK and most of Europe. 



The bromine in brominated vegetable oil is, among other things, a flame retardant that has been found to cause memory loss and skin issues in some people. "The Dew" also contains yellow dye #5, which requires a warning label in the EU because of its potentially adverse impacts in children. "That is in this drink that Americans drink every single day," Hart said bemusedly, adding that American Mountain Dew "reminds me of bleach" as compared to the British version.


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Common American breakfast foods are other products that are made totally differently overseas. "The one that shocked me was this: Quaker Oats," Hart said, holding up a box of instant oatmeal. The product contains red dye #40, known to cause some people to break out in hives, and has over 25 ingredients in the US, as opposed to just seven in the UK.

Kellogg's Frosted Flakes are also made differently overseas because they contain BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene), a flavor enhancer that is banned in many other countries because of its carcinogenic properties. Turns out Frosted Flakes aren't so "grrreat!" after all. 

And if you're a lover of things like Ritz Crackers and Oreos? Well, prepare to be disappointed overseas, where hydrogenated oils are banned in many countries. That means their taste and texture are off.


When I lived in the UK, expats routinely lamented how bad the Oreos are in the UK — they're just not the same as back home. Because, you know, ours are illegal!

Other common American foods are banned outright overseas.

Speaking of hydrogenated oils, if you're the type who has 14 different flavors of Coffee-Mate creamer in your fridge? Get your fix before heading over the pond, because the stuff is so full of hydrogenated oil that you can't even get it over there. It also contains a preservative that the UK government has banned. "It's got things in that are really bad for you," Hart said.

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America's milk is also banned in the UK along with many other countries "because it has the [bovine] growth hormones that are put into it," Hart said. "A lot of Americans, including myself, I don't drink this anymore," she added. Bovine growth hormones have been banned in parts of Europe since the 1990s, with many other countries following suit. Our meat is banned in many countries as well for the same reason.


But Coffee-Mate and dairy products are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to outright bans. Our pork is banned because we are one of the few countries that still allows certain hormones in pigs. Much of our bread products are banned because they contain a dough softener called BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole), which is infamously also found in yoga mats and athletic shoe soles.

And those Skittles you're looking forward to chewing on come Halloween night? Not only are they full of those banned dyes, they also contain titanium oxide, an additive banned in much of the world because it's been found to cause chromosomal damage, inflammation and — here's a doozie for you — cell necrosis. Which is why a recent lawsuit called the candies "unfit for human consumption."

With all this craziness, it's no wonder that Hart exclaimed, "they're poisoning this country with the foods." It's hard to know if it's quite that dire — and many people, officials included, will roll their eyes at you if you suggest it.


But ask pretty much anyone who's lived or traveled extensively in Europe, and they'll tell you that anecdotally, the food over there really does hit different. We've all had that friend who can't tolerate gluten who finds they have no trouble with it in Europe, for example, a phenomenon some experts have attributed to the lack of chemicals and preservatives used overseas.

Taken together, it's hard not to share Hart's concerns. "Why does the FDA [allow] this?" she wondered in her video. "Why is it that basic foods — same manufacturers, all of it — are banned in the UK? Why not just put good ingredients within the foods?"

Yep, you really do have to wonder. 

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John Sundholm is a news and entertainment writer who covers pop culture, social justice and human interest topics.